"The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.." (Psalm 111:10)
Previously we discussed the relationship that God desires to have with us, we discussed how He desires to be a Father and a friend to us. This is an important revelation to the church and brings us to the realization that we can be bold in coming to Him for forgiveness, but it also brings confusion when we read the verse above. If God wants to be our Father and friend, why would He expect us to fear Him? Why should we be afraid of our father? Of course the answer to this question has to do with the way we understand fear. The Bible is not telling us to be terrified of God or to run from Him and cringe in His presence. What the Bible does mean is that we should recognize God's greatness, that we should be in awe of who He is and be reverent of His presence.
In many of today's churches we have preached the message that God wants to be our friend so much that we have developed a 'buddy buddy' attitude towards God. While it is true that God wants to be our friend, it often seems we have lost our respect for the presence of God. We have developed an attitude that it doesn't matter what we do because God's grace will cover it. This attitude is holding us back from all that God has for us.
Think about your church. How often do you see people getting up and moving around during worship? Is it common for people to carry on side conversations while the preacher is speaking? Are there people laughing and talking during prayer times or altar calls? These are all evidences of a lack of reverence for the presence of God. What would our services look like if we had a renewed fear of the Lord? How would they be different? What would happen if we demanded respect, honor, and reverence for the presence of God the same way we would demand respect for someone of 'earthly' importance? How would you act if the president walked into the room? We need to demand even greater respect when Jesus' presence enters the room. As we do that we will find that we will experience the tangible presence of God more than ever before. It is then, this presence that will bring us into the power and authority that Jesus Himself walked in, and that He promised would follow us as we go after Him.
Preachers don't seem to preach about the fear of the Lord anymore. We don't want to talk about it because it isn't popular. Instead we prefer topics about love and grace because we think that is what the people want to hear, but what the people need to hear is the whole story about who God is. God is loving and full of grace but He is also a God who demands respect. He is almighty, He is powerful, and He is awesome. He will not allow anyone to walk all over Him, and He will not allow anyone to walk in His power and authority if they do not respect the one to whom the power and authority belongs.